Monday, October 22, 2012

Falling

Posted by Mondschein

"Falling" at Minetta Lane Theatre, October 14, 2012

(photo: Carol Rosegg)

There's an intense situation happening at Minetta Lane Theatre, courtesy of Deanna Jent's new play making its New York premiere.

18 year old Josh (Daniel Everidge) suffers with fairly extreme autism.  Being over 6 feet tall, weighing well over 200 pounds combined with his occasionally aggressive and violent behavior sets the stakes pretty high. Tami (Julia Murney) and Bill (Daniel Pearce) work very hard to keep their son under control by emphasizing a calm and steady daily routine.  Little sister Lisa (Jacey Powers) just wants it all to go away, but what 14 year old wouldn't?  When Grammy Sue (Celia Howard) visits, bible in hand, she gets a frightening lesson in the reality of her son's family dynamics.  One particularly violent episode sets up Tami to imagine how life with her family might have been different (though its set up could have been a little more clear).

The 75 minute production moves well under the hand of director Lori Adams, handling all the ups and downs of a day in Josh's life.  The life is at times shocking, at time mundane, which makes it ever more real.  She draws excellent performances from her cast.

Most notable is Mr. Everidge, the mercurial, autistic giant among his caretakers.  His Josh is an emotional 2 year old in the body of a full grown man, completely unfiltered and uninhibited.  Ms. Murney's Tami verges on exhaustion from the effort it takes to keep herself and her family on track.  She struggles a bit in the moments of vulnerability but overall captures the drive to move forward.

John Stark has created a realistic setting for this stressed family, punctuated with the requisite child-friendly elements that would help manage a child like Josh. Tristan Raine's costumes and Julie Mack's lighting support without drawing attention to themselves.

Falling is on an open-ended run.  Get tickets here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Heresy

Posted by Mondschein

"Heresy" at The Flea, October 13, 2012

(photo: Hunter Canning)

In a new world premiere, the prolific A. R. Gurney returns to The Flea with an overwrought story set in the near future.  Mary (Annette O'Toole) and Joseph (Steve Mellor) have come to Homeland Security because their protesting  and unseen son, Chris, has been taken into custody during the latest crackdown. It is here that they must put their case before Pontius Pilate (Reg E. Cathey).

Get it?

Gay History - Getting It Right

Here is what I suspect will be the first of a series. QNY friend, Frantz G. Hall (host of Q-Talk—a lively variety show) has produced a fine video that makes the important point that gay people did not occur as some sudden mutation in the 1970s but that we have been part of the history of humanity since day one. The problem is that history has been often written by those who would ignore or deny us appropriate recognition. I think this video ought to be circulated in mixed groups and in the heartland. We in the gay"bubble" may take for granted its premise but most of the country does not.

What's Queer Anyway? A Campaign to End Ignorance from What's Queer Anyway? on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Posted by Mondschein

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at the Booth Theatre, October 11, 2012

Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre returns to Broadway with the revival of Edward Albee's play about the battle that is marriage.

It hasn't been all that long since the last Rialto revival with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, so I was interested to see what this new production has to offer.  What we get is a solid retelling of the play, much like last season's revival of Death of a Salesman, proving again what a well-made play it is.  Beyond that, there's not much unique in this production.

One thing I did notice, was that Amy Morton's Martha has acceded some of the power to Tracy Letts' George right from the start.  Even though she brays and intimidates, it doesn't land with the same vitriol one usually experiences.  With that opportunity, Mr. Letts' George is now free to wield his sarcasm like a sword, slashing at Martha and their guests.

Speaking of, this Nick (Madison Dirks) and Honey (Carrie Coon), fall right in line behind whoever is spewing the venom.  Mr. Dirks captures the requisite loose athletic demeanor of Nick's football past.  Ms. Coon gives a nice turn as the besotted Honey, though not quite as fragile as other interpretations.

Director Pam MacKinnon keeps things moving fairly well, though there were a couple of slow spots in Act II as the party games transition from "humiliate the husband" to "get the guests."

Todd Rosenthal's large living room set captures the academic environment, but went a little overboard with the stacks of books literally everywhere.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is on an open-ended run.  Tickets here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Art School - Day One



Day One of a weeklong course at The Art Students League of New York on 57th Street. (Birthday gift from the husband.) I chose Michael Massen's course "How to draw the clothed figure." Only four students in the class which is great. I explained to Mr. Massen that I acquired my sense of fabric on form by imitating the way Betty and Veronica's sweaters were drawn over their impossible bosoms. He knows some terrific secrets and I think I'm going to benefit from this. Anyway, it is wonderful to be there. I glanced at the work being done by the other students. They are much more skilled than am I, but Mr. Massen was encouraging, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. He told us to concentrate on one part of the model's garments and use his basic geometric breakdown of folds as the basis for constructing the drape of fabric over form. It is very hard to unlearn the way of sketching for an oil painting in which you begin with one strong line and build the sketch for the painting around that.






Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ten Chimneys

posted by Mondschein

"Ten Chimneys" presented by The Peccadillo Theater Company at the Theatre at St. Clement's , September 29, 2012

(photo: Carol Rosegg)

I was excited to see this play billed as a peek into the backstage lives of Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne, who ruled the English and American stages before, during and after WWII.  It seemed great fodder for a clever and glittering evening.

Instead, playwright Jeffery Hatcher brings us a bit of theatre history as Alfred and Lynnie prepare for the 1938 revival of Chekov's The Seagull.  Had he done only that, it still could have been that evening of sophistication for which I had hoped.